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Sep 13, 2016

Overhaul of Public Transportation Ongoing

The complete overhaul of the public transportation sector, particularly where it concerns bus fares and the quality of the commuter experience, is a steady process.  Earlier this afternoon, Minister of Transport Edmond Castro met with bus operators from southern Belize to discuss issues affecting their respective runs, including the cost of traveling along certain stretches of the Southern Highway.  Prior to that meeting, Castro told the media that commuters are demanding improvement to the overall experience if they are to fork over a few dollars more per trip.

 

Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport

“At two o’clock today I’ll be meeting with the southern region and then also with the northern region to deal with the situation as it relates to increase of fares or the balancing of fares.  And also we are impressing on the bus operators because commuters want them to do more in terms of the safety of their buses, the standees, the overcrowding of buses.  So if the commuters will in some areas, not all areas, if they will be asked to pay more they are asking for a better service from the providers.”

 

Edmond Castro

Isani Cayetano

“It would seem as though, for instance, James Bus Line is one of the better companies, in terms of the fleet of buses that it has running out of the south, is there any specific complaint about any of the other bus lines in terms of the quality of service or the conditions of their vehicles, if they are roadworthy, et cetera?”

 

Edmond Castro

“I think James Bus Line is one of the companies that maintains their buses and have a better standard, or the standard that other bus operators should look towards.  Also, you have to understand that in some cases, even with James Bus Line, there are some leg on the journey that is way out of the twelve to fourteen percent balance that we are trying to strike.  For instance, you have in the Independence to Dangriga route which is about thirty-eight to forty mile, the price there is excessive and most of the prices that were allowed in the south were a direct reaction of the condition of the highway at the time.  But now the highway is one of the best highways in the country, so we have to try and see how we could balance it.  We don’t want to squeeze the bus operator to the brink that they cannot upkeep and maintain their buses because dat noh good fi none ah we.  Noh di commuting public nor the bus operators, so we have to try strike wahn balance.”

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